European Investment Fund and Italy’s Government investment veichle Cassa Depositi e Prestiti committed 40 million euros to a new venture capital fund focus on Italian biotech startups lauched by Sofinnova Partners with Italian biomedical chairty Telethon as advisor.
The 40 million euros will come from a 200 million euros platform, named ITATech, focused on technological transfer in medtech projects to be developed in Italy, thanks to a joint committment by EIF and Cdp (see here a previous post by BeBeez).
Sofinnova-Telethon fund also received a 10 million euros committment from the European Investment Bank and is now raising other capital from private investors so to reach a 75-100 million euros target to beinvested in 15-20 startup projcets. The fund will be operative by the end of 2018.
The announcement received some critics in Italy as the Italian Government committed public moeny to a French asset manager and not to an Italian one. The news has been actually on air for some months and last October the Italian Treasury Minister Pier Carlo Padoan was asked to speak at the Parliament in an open hearing in order to explain why that might be possible.
Mr. Padoan said said that ITATech money might be committed both to Italian and foreign asset manager conditioned to the fact that they will be invested in Italy. The same provision was made some years ago when venture capital fund of funds managed by Fondo Italiano d’Investimento sgr (promoted by the Italian Govenrment een if with private money) invested in Sofinnova Capital Partners VII and Sofinnova Capital Partners VIII.
This is the second investment for ITATech after the one announced in September 2017 in Vertis Venture 3 Technology Transfer fund, managed by Vertis sgr. That fund aims to invest more than 50 million euros in startups focused in automation and robotics sectors (see here a previous post by BeBeez).
Active in Italy for more than 20 years, Sofinnova i led in Italy by its managing partner Graziano Seghezzi and founded two years ago the biotech accelerator BiovelocITA, together with Silvano Spinelli and Gabriella Camboni. Those two were founders of EOS, a company which was sold in 2013 to Clovis Oncology for 470 million dollars (see here a previous post by BeBeez), and founders of Novuspharma. Sofinnova Partners was an investor in both companies.